Sandhill Cranes Migrate

Sandhill Cranes MigrateHere’s a program from our archives. ambience: Sandhill CranesThat’s the sound of sandhill cranes in central Nebraska. For the next few months, thousands of these three-foot-tall birds convene here, at the horseshoe bend of the Platte river. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Pembleton: In that area is the concentration of half a million sand hill cranes each spring as they’re migrating north to their nesting grounds in the Canada, Alaska, and Siberian Arctic. No where else in the world do we have a congregation of cranes as large as the one that occurs on the Platte.Naturalist Ed Pembleton tells us that this area serves as a kind of lengthy rest stop for the cranes on their long journey north.Pembleton: The spring migration of sandhill cranes originates out of Mexico, Texas, New Mexico, essentially the Gulf coast of the US. They begin to move north as early as the first of February. They reach the Platte, well, usually Valentine’s Day, and what they’re doing is two things: they’re gaining weight for the flight onto the North and to get ready for the nesting on the Arctic, because when they get to the Arctic, there is nothing for them to eat, essentially. And the other thing they’re doing is accumulating proteins and calcium and that helps them repair flight muscles, build proteins, and to build eggshells.In recent years, redirection of the Platte’s water, for irrigation and hydroelectric power, has reduced the crane’s territory, confining the birds to smaller and smaller areas, and making them dangerously vulnerable to potential disasters.Pembleton: One of the concerns that we have at this time is that, because the cranes are concentrated sometimes 7000, 8000 birds in one roost, if we saw a tornado go down the river valley, if we had a large chemical spill of some kind into the river, we could lose large quantities of population very quickly.I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Sandhill Cranes Migrate

Hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes are convening at the Platte River in Nebraska -- one of the largest bird migrations in the world.
Air Date:03/03/2020
Scientist:
Transcript:

Sandhill Cranes MigrateHere's a program from our archives. ambience: Sandhill CranesThat's the sound of sandhill cranes in central Nebraska. For the next few months, thousands of these three-foot-tall birds convene here, at the horseshoe bend of the Platte river. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Pembleton: In that area is the concentration of half a million sand hill cranes each spring as they're migrating north to their nesting grounds in the Canada, Alaska, and Siberian Arctic. No where else in the world do we have a congregation of cranes as large as the one that occurs on the Platte.Naturalist Ed Pembleton tells us that this area serves as a kind of lengthy rest stop for the cranes on their long journey north.Pembleton: The spring migration of sandhill cranes originates out of Mexico, Texas, New Mexico, essentially the Gulf coast of the US. They begin to move north as early as the first of February. They reach the Platte, well, usually Valentine's Day, and what they're doing is two things: they're gaining weight for the flight onto the North and to get ready for the nesting on the Arctic, because when they get to the Arctic, there is nothing for them to eat, essentially. And the other thing they're doing is accumulating proteins and calcium and that helps them repair flight muscles, build proteins, and to build eggshells.In recent years, redirection of the Platte's water, for irrigation and hydroelectric power, has reduced the crane's territory, confining the birds to smaller and smaller areas, and making them dangerously vulnerable to potential disasters.Pembleton: One of the concerns that we have at this time is that, because the cranes are concentrated sometimes 7000, 8000 birds in one roost, if we saw a tornado go down the river valley, if we had a large chemical spill of some kind into the river, we could lose large quantities of population very quickly.I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.